Legal Services

Workplace Injury

Varner & Van Volkenburg, PLLC

WV Workplace Injury Defense Attorneys

Business owners in West Virginia (WV) must comply with many rules and regulations. If you have employees, you must take certain precautions to keep them safe on the job. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and safety measures, one of your employees is injured and brings a claim against your company for damages. This is when you need to turn to an experienced WV workplace injury defense lawyer to protect your interests.

Attorneys Jeffrey D. Van Volkenburg, Debra T. Varner, and James A. Varner, Sr. and the team at Varner & Van Volkenburg, PLLC have extensive experience in defending West Virginia companies faced with difficult claims and lawsuits involving on-the-job accidents and other workplace injury situations.

WV Workplace Injury Defense Starts with a Thorough Understanding of the Law

The first issue that must often be addressed in a WV workplace injury defense case is whether the claimed injury is work-related. The United States Department of Labor established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create rules and standards that protect American workers. OSHA Standard 1904.5 defines a “work-related injury or illness” as a condition that results from an event or contact in the work environment that meets one of these criteria:

  • It caused the condition;
  • It contributed to the condition; or
  • It significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

At Varner & Van Volkenburg, we help employers develop an emergency response program to ensure that they are proactive in gathering the evidence needed to confront high exposure claims and proactively respond to regulatory inquiries involving OSHA. Additionally, oil and gas companies are governed differently than most other companies as related to the application of the OSHA regulations.  This is a key issue that companies in this field must understand early in a case alleging a work place injury on  well-site or other oil and gas related facility. 

Only WV work-related injuries fall under the workers’ compensation system, which allows an employee to bring an action against the employer to recover related damages. West Virginia workers’ compensation laws usually limit a worker’s recovery to the amount of workers’ compensation insurance coverage maintained by the employer.

However, WV law contains a special provision that allows an employee to bring an additional claim directly against the employer if the employee can prove the employer acted deliberately to cause the worker’s condition or injury. The law related to “deliberate intent” claims is a unique component of the legal system in West Virginia. Varner & Van Volkenburg attorneys have spent decades litigating these types of claims throughout West Virginia state and federal courts and understand the nuances of successfully defending these types of often difficult cases.

A Deeper Dive Into the WV State Code’s Workers’ Compensation Provisions

The general provisions of West Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws are found in WV Code chapter 23. These laws generally protect an employer from unlimited exposure when an employee brings a work-related injury claim.

Under WV Code § 23-4-2, an employee can be barred from recovering for injuries that the worker intentionally caused or were self-inflicted. Also, if the employee was intoxicated at the time of the injury, the employer can require a blood test as proof of intoxication. Depending on the results of the blood test, the injury may be considered the direct result of the intoxication and, therefore, not the employer’s responsibility.

If the worker is not responsible for the injury, the injured employee’s recovery is limited to the amount of benefits paid under the workers’ compensation insurance policy. An exception to this limited recovery arises only if the worker can prove that the employer acted deliberately and that the worker was injured as a result.

WV Deliberate Intent Claims Requirements

A special provision found in WV Code § 23-4-2(c)(2)(ii) allows an employee to bring a separate cause of action for damages above and beyond the workers’ compensation limits if the employee can prove the employer acted deliberately to cause the injury in question.

The worker must prove the employer acted with the conscious, deliberate, and subjective intent to cause the injury. Mere negligence or recklessness is not enough. If the employee cannot prove the employer intended the injury that resulted, the employee cannot bring a deliberate intent claim.

Trust the WV Workplace Injury Defense Team at Varner & Van Volkenburg, PLLC to Protect Your Company

WV work-related injuries can happen in many industries and situations. Our attorneys have gained a solid reputation for successfully navigating the most difficult workplace injury and WV deliberate intent claims. Some of the complicated defense cases we accept include catastrophic loss resulting from fire and other accidents and multi-plaintiff class action litigation.

Our team will carefully assess your circumstances including your insurance coverage, additional insured status, and indemnity obligations, and we’ll perform an early assessment of whether other parties may be at fault. Together, we will craft a strong defense for even the most problematic case.

The attorneys at Varner & Van Volkenburg, PLLC are proud to provide exceptional WV workplace injury defense to companies facing workers’ compensation and deliberate intent claims. If you need a legal team with experience and tenacity, call us at (304) 918-2840 or email Jeff Van Volkenburg or Deb Varner at jdvanvolkenburg@vv-wvlaw.com or dtvarner@vv-wvlaw.com, respectively.

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360 Washington Avenue
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26301

Contact Us

360 Washington Avenue
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26301